Let Us Write a New History

November 13, 2020

By Sister Lilian Silva

On October 25, 2020, we lived an experience that will mark the destiny of our beloved Chile in the next years.

After the social outcry in October 2019—by which all the injustice that thousands of people suffer was disclosed in the areas of education, health, femicides, pensions, etc.—President Sebastian Piñera called to a plebiscite to approve or reject the drafting of a new constitution.

This was a voluntary invitation and marked a milestone in our country, as the option “I approve” obtained the most votes. I feel that people feel more hopeful after learning the result.

In spite of the pandemic, thousands of people from different places took to the streets to celebrate. What comes next is the election of members for the Constitutional Convention that will be drafting Chile’s new constitution. This group of people will include men and women in equal numbers who will be chosen by all of us. There is still a long way ahead, but we have taken the first step.

I would like to share with you on that Sunday I woke up very happy because I would be part of a very important day for my country, and I felt proud of the civic attitude we all had. Personally, I was quite moved and felt a strong commitment. I loved watching all the people as they complied with the norms that had been imposed by the Health Ministry in an orderly and respectful way. I also felt glad to see many young people participating, because they have not been voting lately. When there is a will, there is a way. 

Sister Maria Inés shares part of her own experience: “I was very touched by the word projected at the Dignidad Square that Sunday night: “REBIRTHING.” This reminded me of the previous plebiscite in 1980, and I felt that I was, once again, part of an historical event as people peacefully expressed their disagreement with a constitution that had been written in the times of Chile’s dictatorship. It gave me hope to see committed young people transmitting joy and enthusiasm at the voting places. I was glad to see that people of different ages were exercising their right ‘to vote and change the destiny of our society’ with a simple pencil.”

In Santiago, many people began gathering at Italia Square—known as Baquedano Square and lately Dignity Square—located in the center of Santiago. It was filled with singing, lights, joy, hope, flags, hugs and happiness.

It was a civic feast illuminated by the word “REBIRTHING” that showed that a new era was starting.

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  1. Cathleen Cahill

    Thank you Lilian for this message of hope.

  2. Maria Klosowski

    It is good to read your country is having a rebirth. Indeed, reason to celebrate.

  3. Vicky Arndorfer, RSM

    Thanks for sharing your joy and increasing my awareness of your country.

  4. Glenna Wickline

    It is such a blessing to learn that the people of Chile are recovering from the many years of the Pinochet regime.

  5. Mary Sullivan

    Lilian, this is a beautiful and happy update about the political life in Chile. We in Rochester will always care about Chile and love all of you there. Thank you deeply for your reflection.

  6. Jean Marie Kearse

    Thank you Lilian and Maria Inez for this hopeful picture of Chile’s future. I am SO glad you could be part of making history…Love…

  7. Linda Werthman

    Lillian and Maria Ines, muchas gracias por la noticia y sus reflexiones. Mi oracion por todo el gente de Chili.

  8. Margaret Downing RSM

    Dear Sister Lillian,

    What a wonderful glimpse you have given us of a moment in history–for Chile, but perhaps for all the world. If Chileans can act as you have described, and change a constitution that is not serving their needs, perhaps the rest of the world can figure out how to use peaceful means to change governments and share a rebirthing. Thanks for writing this.

  9. Richard Mary Burke, RSM

    Dear Lilian,
    Your reflections reveal the depth of your own sense of newness and provide us with a “snapshot” of the issues and journey. Thank you for your commitment and courage!
    Richard Mary

  10. Patricia Cook, rsm

    Thanks so much for this joyful sharing of yours and I love to learn such history…… I feel more like your sister in mercy across the miles.

    Muchas gracias, dear Lilian.

    Peace and blessings,

  11. Kay Schwenzer, RSM

    Gracias, Lilian y Maria Ines. Que bueno haber tomado este gran paso. Adelante con el rebirthing!

  12. Lucy Calvillo

    Thank God and blessings to all of you as you continue on this new journey.

  13. Renee Yann

    Dear Lilian, thank you for your heart-felt sharing. Your love for your country and your compatriots is so evident. May God bless you all with a constitution and leadership that will allow your people to live with justice, peace, and equity.

  14. Janet Korn, RSM

    ! Muchas gracias, Lili y Maria Inez, Me acuerdo tanto de los anos pasados y me alegro con Uds. y todos los Chilenos! Adelante!